Time to rethink resilience in the workplace?

Time to rethink resilience in the workplace?

Including Resilience Training in Corporate Life

Resilience training has been a frequent feature in corporate life for some time, using a growing range of tools from psychoeducation to goal setting to gratitude training, but generally with a common purpose of equipping an individual with the skills to ‘bounce-back’ from adversity and the ability to adapt to stressful situations. Resilience isn’t a quality that you do or don’t possess, but resilience needs will change in relation to the size of the adversity being faced. To a degree, resilience is something that you’re born with, but it is a malleable characteristic, meaning it can be learnt.

But, for anyone who has previously attended a resilience workshop, however impactful they felt at the time, it would not be unreasonable to be feeling that they inadequately prepared you for the events of 2020 and as we enter Lockdown 2.0, you may be reflecting on what else might be needed to maintain momentum at work.

Context matters and many of the drivers of individual resilience, including wellbeing, purpose and agility look very different from a year ago with a resetting of the base from which we operate.

Has the Pandemic Affected our Ability to Remain Resilient In the Workplace?

A longitudinal research project by the Mental Health Foundation shows that 65% of us are feeling that we are coping well with the pandemic; but this figure has consistently declined from 76% in April to Aug, and amongst young people, this is now at 56%.

Revisiting individual resilience for these changed circumstances is important and each of us will feel challenged in a different way, depending on our mindset and circumstances. One of the characteristics that resilient people share is optimism, and with this, the ability to see the positives in most situations.  

Our purpose or direction may be impacted at work by our industry sector and role and highly resilient individuals may already have a clear understanding on what they can and cannot control and where they might influence. 

It’s important to say what resilience isn’t; it’s not ‘Manning Up’, it’s not ‘taking things on the chin’, and neither is it ignoring and forgetting the toughness of times.  Most importantly it’s not an insensitivity to what going on around us.  

Does Working From Home Impact our Resilience?

Working from home as a default is unusual for most of us and whilst there are well-documented benefits, our control over our working environment has changed; internet connectivity, traffic noise, other household members, pets and so on, can all start to challenge our resilience if we haven’t realistically considered if and how we can influence.

Wellbeing is the often the most compromised area of corporate life and it is helpful to be proactively responsive to the choices available to us; whilst making use of the long summer evenings might have kept us active, the dark winter nights, combined with the closure of indoor fitness and leisure activities can be challenging for our activity levels.  There is a risk that the already blurred boundaries between home and work are further compromised, working longer hours, over the 25-28 a month that some studies have already reported.

Why it’s More Than Just Individual Resilience.

It is common for theories to indicate that individuals can bounce back from stressful experiences, but at Mental Health at Work we don’t necessarily consider this as being helpful.  The term ‘bounce back’ suggests that there has been a loss of energy and commitment, which is often not the case.  Our workshops are much more interested in experiences of individuals and corporate responsibility to enable, rather than disable or put the onus on the individual only 

It is timely to revisit resilience, but individual resilience alone is no longer the answer. We need to consider the convergence between the individual and the interaction with their environment, in this case, work that will maintain mental health and well-being and the organisational risk factors to resilience will all have an impact.

Resilience Training and Workshops: How We Can Help.

At Mental Health at Work, we believe in a multidimensional approach to resilience training, bringing both individual and organisational responsibility together to enable the most effective outcome.

In our tailored workshops, we consider the questions around how we share adversity and develop collective resilience.  We look at risk factors for the here and now, which could include loss and grief, poor perceived or actual attainment, isolation, relationship or financial issues and work-related pressure factors within a framework of open and honest communication. This approach is not at odds with a high-performance, goal-orientated, professional culture, but this will work together to achieve the best outcomes for all.

Adversity is unavoidable, and the only certainty is when, not if.  Workplace pressure places serious implications on how teams develop collectively and also for the quality and safety of the human experience at work and this has never been a more pressing topic to address than it is today. 

If you’d like to find out more about what might be getting in the way of wellbeing at your organisation and how Mental Health at Work can support your workplace resilience, visit us at www.mhaw.uk.com or email us at team@mhaw.uk.com.

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